The addition of Maliek Collins this past offseason was twofold. It fortified the Las Vegas Raiders’ defensive line next season, but it’s also given him a chance to earn a mega-contract in 2021.
Arguably the most overlooked Raiders signing of this past NFL free agency period was Collins. This is understandable after the additions of Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton, who finally upgraded the much-maligned linebacker corps. As far as Collins, he’ll be a huge cog in the middle of the defensive line but will also add to the Raiders’ pass rush from the defensive tackle position. The latter being important because it will further help the development of 2019 rookies, Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell.
Short-Term Investment, Long-Term Potential
Scott Bair of NBC Sports recently echoed his sentiments on Collins. “Defensive tackle Maliek Collins is surely the best value signing the Raiders made this offseason. The 25-year old interior defensive lineman signed a one-year deal worth up to $6.25 million, with an opportunity to re-enter the market in his mid-20s looking for a monster deal.” Two great points made by Bair on this one, first is the financial aspect that didn’t require a hefty investment upfront. Second, Collins is still young and will be going into a great situation with such a talented unit that happens to be under the tutelage of Rod Marinelli whom he’s very familiar with.
“Collins Can Bring The Heat”
Collins only had four sacks last season under Marinelli, who was then-Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator. Nevertheless, it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Bair briefly touched on this as well, “He only had 4.0 sacks in 2019 but would’ve led the Raiders in total quarterback pressures, a sign that he can flush quarterbacks and force sacks even if he doesn’t always bring them down. Interior pressure is as valuable a commodity as any in the modern NFL, and Collins can bring the heat.”
While there hasn’t been any football played yet, all signs point to Collins having a big year. This can be attributed to several factors such as the unit he will play with, overall talent, and top-tier coaching with Marinelli. The question will be whether Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will put Collins in positions to help elevate those around him, Crosby and co. should reap the benefits in 2020. Which in theory, would lead to Collins cashing in big in 2021 if said improvement takes place.
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*Top Photo: Roger Steinman/Associated Press